Hamburg was pretty cool, I guess
- After class on Friday, I headed to Copenhagen Central Station to catch our train to Hamburg. The train was nice and comfy, and I had cheese puffs, and Erin had mini weenies, so it was a pretty good trip. At one point, we had to get off the train to get on a ferry, which would take us across the sea to Germany. The ferry was so elaborate that when we got on, I didn’t even realize we had gotten on the boat. Erin, Catherine, and I played Heads Up, which is basically this phone game where you put the phone on your forehead while it shows a word, and the other people have to act out what it is until you guess correctly. About 10 minutes in, Erin noticed that these Danish kids (aka like 16 or 17 year olds) were watching us, so she invited them to play with us. I was pretty hilarious because they clearly though the game was absurd, but they played along anyway. We were also v impressed by their knowledge of English terms (like somehow they know the term “shimmy.”)
- When we got off the train at Hamburg HBF, it was v late (like 11pm) and we had to buy tickets to take the train to our Airbnb. But when we tried to use the ticket machine, our credit cards weren’t working, and the ATM next to it wouldn’t take any of our cards either, so that was fun. We walked across the train station toward Visitor Services, which was also closed. In desperation, we decided to try a different ATM, and (thankfully) this one worked. But then we realized that the ATM didn’t give bills smaller than 20 euros, and the ticket machine didn’t take bills bigger than 10 euros. Which if you ask me, is very poor planning and user interface. We solved the problem by buying fries at McDonalds though, so it wasn’t all bad (I wanted chicken nuggets but they were expensive and wouldn’t give us the right amount of change we needed to buy the tickets.) It’s also worth noting that this was the ONLY time the entire trip during which we had issues with our cards.
- By the time we were actually buying our tickets, we were all a little delirious, so Erin fed me fries while I fought with the ticket machine. We finally got our tickets and were on our way to the Airbnb.
- When we got to the unit, we met with our host’s friend, who was v nice and showed us around the place. Our room was pretty hilarious because it was just one big megabed with a crazy tapestry over it like a canopy and lots of ~eccentric~ decorations. I forget to get a good picture of it, so just use your imagination.
- In the morning, we went to the Neuengamme Memorial, which was the site of a huge concentration camp outside of Hamburg. It was pretty eye-opening but also very heavy to be in the space where all of these horrible things happened – a big contrast from learning about it in the classroom thousands of miles away. The indoor exhibitions weren’t open that early in the morning, but we were able to see a lot of the projects that the prisoners were forced to work on, as well as the remains of many of the camp’s major buildings.
- We took the bus into downtown Hamburg and immediately found a bratwurst stand for me and Erin (Catherine brought vegetables). Yum. We also went to a Starbucks that doubled as a tourist center (well played). It was a good thing that we stopped there though because we found a brochure that listed all of the activities on the Hamburg Card, so we added a few things to our itinerary.
- On our way to the canal tour, we saw these CRAZY break dancers on the street – some of the best dancing I’ve seen in my entire life (which is saying something because I love the dudes who dance on BART).
- We took a boat tour of the harbor, which was fun even though the commentary was all in German. I was super entertained watching the shipping crates being loaded and pulled around the harbor.
- After the boat tour, we went to St. Michaelis Kirke, which is a really tall church where you can climb something like 450 steps to get a killer view of the city. Luckily, there were little rest stops where you could take a break and read about some history of the church/architecture. I’ve also had some practice climbing absurd amounts of steps (lookin at u Bunker Hill and Koko head), so it wasn’t that bad.
- Once we got out of the church (we took the elevator down and it was significantly faster), we walked around the historical district of Hamburg for a while. My favorite part was seeing Town Hall, which is v large and v beautiful. They had some tours that talked about historical and government-related stuff, which sounded interesting, but it was pretty late at this point, so the tours were over for the day 😦
- At this point, were getting v hungry, so we set out on an adventure for food. The first place we tried was mysteriously closed, so we took the bus to the opposite side of town to go to this restaurant called Nil, which was SO GOOD, and also probably the fanciest meal I’ve ever paid for myself. The best part is that we were sitting on the 2nd floor, and they had this cute little food elevator that would ding and open to reveal your food. The other best part was that I got this delicious cocktail and rack of lamb, which came with the best ratatouille that I’ve ever had. And they served really good bread and butter. There were a lot of good parts.
- For our last stop of the day, we went to the famous Miniatur Wonderland, which is a HUGE collection of electric trains that run around the most elaborate miniature world I have ever seen. There were so many little details that you could probably spend hours just looking at one exhibit and noticing random things the artists had put in. One thing that was SUPER cool was that the museum lights ran on a loop that simulated an accelerated day, so they used a combination of different colored lights to represent different parts of the day (dawn, dusk, etc) and make it look like the day was passing over the miniature world.
- By the time we got back to the Airbnb, we were all EXHAUSTED (“Megabed how I’ve missed you” -Erin Morrow)
- So fun fact, in order to get back to London for a reasonable price, Catherine had to fly out VERY early in the morning. So we all got up at 3 am to walk her to the train station. The one good thing about this situation was that Erin and I got to snap Sophie and pretend we were out on the town, when really we just went back to the Airbnb and passed out on the megabed again.
- At a more reasonable hour, Erin and I woke up for the second time that morning, packed our stuff, and headed back to downtown Hamburg. Our first stop was the Composer’s Corner, which was home to a bunch of museums about famous composers. Erin obviously knew a lot more about them than I did, but I had a good time listening to the music and watching the cute animated films that explained the lives of each composer.
- We tried to go back to the bratwurst stand, but it was closed on Sundays, which was probably the biggest disappointment of the entire trip and made us wish we had bought more on Saturday.
- We then headed to a chocolate museum, which was ~interactive~ which meant that we got to make our own chocolate bars and taste chocolate at different parts of the production process. I actually learned a lot about how chocolate is made and also the samples were delicious.
- Side note: we got lucky in that all of the museums we ended up going to on Sunday had little lockers for us to put our stuff in. However, the lockers at the chocolate museum were a bit cramped and it took a small miracle for us to cram our bags in there.
- Before heading back to Cope, we went to the Kunsthalle, which is a HUGE art museum right next to the central station. We were there for over two hours and had to rush to get through almost all of the museum, if that gives you an idea of how huge this place was. We easily could have spent the entire day there. But it was so cool to see how art evolved over the years, and we got to see a few famous pieces, which was v cool.
- After leaving the museum, we grabbed some sandwiches and boarded the train back to Copenhagen. I don’t have any fun stories about the train ride because I was asleep for 98% of it. I did manage to be awake on the ferry though so that I could drink the rhubarb cider that I missed on Thursday for fear of being judged by the bartender at the Carlsburg brewery.
Overall, A+ trip, although it made me wish we had longer because there was still so much that we wanted to see in Hamburg! I did kind of like the ~pressure~ of the time crunch though, because it made me plan really deliberately to make the most out of our time. I’m also pretty sure we walked over 15 miles over the course of two days.
Classes this Week:
- On Monday, we had to go back to class, which felt like a big shock after traveling all weekend. Luckily, I do still really like my classes, and we even finished our group project in Artificial Intelligence, so that was really exciting.
- I read some really good articles about cultural conflict in the classroom and teacher training this week. I love doing the reading for my Learning in Scandinavian Classrooms course because we cover so many topics that are SUPER relevant to my teaching. That’s probably only notable if you like education as much as I do, but I figured it was worth mentioning because I was excited about it.
- Speaking of Learning in Scandinavian Classrooms, I have to take a moment to tell you about how cool my professor, Heidi, is. Earlier this week, she asked us for some feedback on how the class was going, and some people mentioned that they felt like they didn’t have enough time to think before giving a response. And then today, Heidi comes back to class and explains that she’s so used to extroverted classes and is an extrovert herself, so sometimes she feels like she needs to fill the silence, but she’s going to work on adapting to the way our specific class functions. To understand why this is so cool, I guess you have to know that we’ve been studying what it means to be a reflective teacher, and I thought Heidi’s attitude was the PERFECT example of this.
- We had a quiz in Danish class today on language and culture, and I think it went pretty well. I really love learning Danish, and it’s so cool to be able to understand more and more words as the semester goes on. I am really good at recognizing numbers now, and can pick up a few phrases here and there. I also can understand a lot of random signs on the road. I also am really enjoying learning about Danish history. It’s really interesting to see how Denmark’s history has such a strong impact on its national identity and attitude toward current events. To be honest, if it weren’t for my Hamilton obsession, I would probably have as strong a grasp on Danish history as I do on American history. Which is a sad commentary on the quality of my history education, but…
- I picked up some climbing shoes, so now I can go climbing as much as I want without having to pay to rent shoes every time. Woooo yay. Also when I was there yesterday, they were changing up the rocks, so I’ll have a bunch of new walls to climb when I get back from London.
- On Tuesday, my host mom was working late in the salon, so we went to this Chinese buffet, which was the perfect level of fake Chinese food to be super delicious. They had this noodle bar where you put whatever you want on a plate, and then put it in this little window, and they fry it all up for you. They also had v good fried shrimp and chicken. They also had sushi (this whole mixing of different types of Asian foods at the same restaurants is big here). And a full ice cream bar, because why not? It was weird being the only Asian customer there (although all of the workers were Asian). Luckily, I know enough about Chinese food not to look like a complete noob. I also shared with my host siblings the joy/pain of putting shrimp chips on your tongue so that they clamp down on you.
- Also, today during dinner, my host mom prepared make-your-own spring rolls, and they were DELICIOUS. And then I entertained everyone by showing them how weird/flexible my fingers and toes are, which I’m learning is a very good party trick. AND we learned that Mathilde and I both have 6 lumbar vertebrae, which is actually fairly uncommon.
- On Wednesday morning, I met with Pernille, who is a teacher at Frida and Mathilde’s school. When I walked into the school, I was v confused because I was supposed to meet her in the teacher’s room, but luckily some nice people were able to direct me. Also, the random teachers I ran into were SO NICE TO ME, like I asked one of them if she could tell me who Pernille is, and she literally took me by the shoulders and guided me there. Pernille herself was also super cool, and we talked all about educational differences between Denmark and the states (my new fave topic) and planned out a schedule for me to come help out in a couple of classes this semester. Apparently, one of the classes that I’m going to next Friday is Mathilde’s class, and Mathilde told me that her teacher and class are v excited about it. I’ll also be going to Frida’s class at some point, so that will be really fun. Yay more hanging out at schools!
- Practicum continues to be the actual best thanks to Mette and the 6th grade classes at my practicum school. Mette invited me to get beers with her and a couple of the other teachers today, which was SO FUN because we went to this super hipster beer place in Norrebro. Mette recommended a beer for me, which was so good that I actually got a large and finished the whole thing easily. 100% was the best beer I’ve ever had. I also got a Drikke #2, which consisted of of lemonade, rum, vodka, and some kind of sweet syrup and it was also one of the most delicious drinks I’ve ever had. The best part though was that I got to talk to Mette and a bunch of her colleagues for a few hours about education and other things. One of the teachers I was talking to was just so shocked that teachers in the US didn’t stay with their students for more than a year. Like he couldn’t even conceptualize getting to know his students well enough in just a year, which really made me think. Because as much as I’m in support of teacher looping, I just take it as a given that I’ll be getting a new class every year. I also love that all of the teachers seem like they hang out and get along super well. To no one’s surprise, hanging out with these teachers was one of the highlights of my study abroad experience so far.
- Study tour in London, during which I will visit more schools. (ALSO THEY’RE TAKING US TO SEE LES MIS WHICH I AM SO HYPE ABOUT)
- Me being 2 weeks ahead on readings and struggling to remember what I was supposed to read for this class
- Trying not to stuff myself with free food on study tour
- Trying to pack a week’s worth of stuff in a duffel bag because I refuse to bring a suitcase.